Monday, March 31, 2008
If it came to the place where I knew that I only had a few days to live, and I only had 13 meals left to eat, here would be what I would order. I'm going to count down on this one from my 13th meal to my final meal.
13. Vegetarian Quesadilla from Taqueria El Castillo. -->
12. Pepperoni Pizza from Zachary's Pizza.
9. Chili Dogs and tater tots.
8. Kalbi and Bulgogi--no rice, just meat
7. Ribs, w/ potato salad and baked beans
6. My Special Chili
5. Hawaiian BBQ from L&L's.
4. Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich from The Chuck House, w/ tater tots
2. Vegetarian Quesadilla from Taqueria El Castilla
1. Macaroni and Cheese w/ Chicken Strips.
I'm going to try to do this in a different way. Some things are better than others, so to be more accurate about how I feel a Sunday or Wed. goes, I'm going to borrow from another junior high pastor's blog on how he rates his Sunday mornings.
Message: Good but long
Our game was a trick game. I asked for 3 volunteers, and they all went out into the hallway. I told all the other kids that the game was to see who could eat the most powdered donuts without licking their lips. If they saw somebody lick their lips, then they had to yell and call that person out. The website I got the game off of said that 8 is the most they ever had.
So the kids came back in and started eating the donuts without knowing that they couldn't lick their lips. Kenny ate 2 before he licked his lips. Austin ate 9, and Christian ate 10, but we called him the winner because he never licked his lips. It's excruciating watching people eat donuts. It takes so long.
The music was led by Gideon, and he always does a great job. I gave it a "good" because I was just in a weird mood yesterday and was worried that Bryon was speaking and he wasn't there yet. I started going through my head to see if I could get something together to stall for a little while. Bryon showed up during the last song, and I got to concentrate more on worship.
Bryon spoke about love; loving God and loving your neighbor. He talked about we all have the capacity for loving people, even the people who we don't get along with because God is love, and if God is in us, then we have love in us. He spoke for about 55 minutes, but this is a small gist of what he said. I thought it was good and he used a lot of audience participation, so the kids seemed to stay with him. He ended with reading some letters that a bunch of the kids sent to him when he was in Afghanistan. He talked about how loved he felt by reading the short little notes that the kids wrote. I think that was the best part, seeing the kids get excited when he read their letter, because they knew how important it was to Bryon, and that they had made him feel loved.
Overall, it was a good Sunday morning.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
5The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"
6He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you.
7"Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'? 8Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? 9Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.' " Luke 17:5-9 (The Message)
This morning I was reading this passage. I've probably read this passage several times, but this morning something stood out to me that I had never caught before (which is the awesome thing about this Bible. Every time you read it, God can show you something different).
The disciples were asking for their faith to be increased. Jesus didn't tell them how to have more faith. He didn't give them any special instructions or "to-do" lists that would increase your faith. Jesus didn't give a 10 steps to having more faith sermon, where every point started with the letter "B." He told them a story, that to me doesn't have anything to do with faith. It has to do with doing what God says.
I think too often I get caught up on how to have more faith, like the disciples. I look for a plan in the Bible. I look for a secret that I and every other person who has ever studied the Bible had missed. And If I find it then I will be able to move mountains and bushes and do all kinds of cool stuff. (I would use it to move slower moving cars in front of me) I would use it to heal my headaches. I would use it to heal my son (who is sick right now. He's been puking like crazy the last couple of days. In fact we got a big purple splot right on our white carpet).
Maybe I shouldn't worry about having the faith that can raise the dead or shoot demons out of people. Maybe God gives me enough faith to get me through the things that I need to do for him. I've never thought of me in the way of this story, as God's servant. I need to serve God before I even serve myself. I know this, but I've never thought of it in this sense before. I still want to try to figure this out. Faith is such an interesting thing, and I continue want to grow with mine, but maybe I need to look at it from a different perspective.
Friday, March 28, 2008
I just finished this book by Nancy Ortberg. I had never heard of her. I was never recommended this book. I was just wandering around in the religion section at Barnes & Nobles (or Borders...whatever). This book caught my eye because of the cover. Then I read the quote under the title and it said "tattoos." This is why I really bought this book and read it. I wanted to see what kind of stories she had about tattoos and tofu that could help me look for God.
It's a good book. Even though there are probably only 2 sentences that have anything to do with tattoos, the book did have a lot about looking for God. It was about finding God in the ordinary, everyday experiences and encounters that we have. Whether it's helping somebody, playing with kids, or eating dinner with friends, we can find God. It doesn't necessarily be a quiet time or a worship service. I liked this idea a lot.
Her book is very feminine. I think ladies would like it a lot, and could relate to her humor and stories a little better than I did. I still liked the book, I just think that women would relate better to this book. Many of the things that she talked about were things that I have also thought about and come to grips with, but there were some things that I am definitely going to use and put into practice. This is a book that you should check out. It's a very short read (it took me 2 days...on and off). So, go read it and let me know what you think.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I just finished this book, and I know I say this a lot, but it was great. I couldn't put it down. I love stories. I love hearing about how certain events impact somebdy's life. This was a book about a guy who became heavily involved in drugs. He took everything, from weed to crystal meth (his drug of choice) to heroin. It talks about the crazy thinking that went on while he was on drugs, and how his thinking could totally change when he was sober. The book goes through a relapse, a recovery, another relapse, and then another recovery.
I think I really liked the book because it took place a lot in San Francisco. One of the places he use to deal drugs was 2 blocks from my church and across the street from my favorite taqueria (that I talked about in a post a couple of days ago). The Safeway he hung out was where I did my grocery shopping. The other places that he talked about I knew well. I had several kids in my youth group who lived in the Tenderloin, where he spent a lot of time looking for drugs.
When he hit rock bottom, he moved to LA where his 12 Steps sponsor lived. He lived in a sober living facility, and he got clean for a while. He got a job, he was going great with his life, but an ex-girlfriend called, and he ended up getting caught up with her celebrity friends. Before too long he had relapsed again, doing crack, meth, and cocaine...among other "prescribed" drugs. He finally hit rock bottom again and went to a facility in Arizona that helped him, and the book ends there, with him trying to release and come to grips with demons that have been in his life from his childhood.
He talks a lot about God and prayer, even though he doesn't believe in God. From me, a believer, I see God very much in his book. Every time he cried out to God, God delivered him and helped him out. When he started relying on himself, and not looking for God, he went back into his old habits. I saw that throughout the book, even though I don't think this was the author's intention.
Anyways, it was a very good book. It took me about 3 days to read it, but it was so interesting that it could have taken one if I would have had the time. I like the part with him in San Francisco the best. Maybe it was because I knew the places. Maybe it was because the characters all seemed more interesting (especially this kid named Gack). Hopefully it's not because I love to read about people suffering. I didn't like the characters in LA as much, except for his sponsor, Spencer. Maybe I felt they were all superficial about living amongst celebrities and stuff like that.
But I would recommend the book to people who like memoirs and people who like reading about recovery and drug abuse. Suzy loves the stuff, and she's the one who bought the book and read it first before recommending it to me. It's got some bad language and gets pretty graphic, so be aware of that before beginning to read it.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I have very vivid dreams. Most every night I have dreams and I can remember them in them morning. Sometimes I'll be walking around and something will catch my eye and remind me of a dream that I had forgotten about. (Even last night I had a very vivid dream that I thought was real when I woke up for a minute)
The two best dreams that I can remember were very special. One of them, I was in a Roadrunner and Coyote cartoon. The roadrunner was chasing me through the desert. Everything was a cartoon. This was the best dream I ever had. The second best dream I ever had was one that everybody was singing everything, like a musical. Nobody could talk. If anybody wanted to communicate they had to sing. I don't remember how any of the songs go, but I can still remember people in my dream who were singing, mostly friends from college.
The worst dream I ever had was one where I was just standing in a line that wasn't moving. I was in a building, standing in the back of a line that didn't move. I never got closer to the front. I hate lines. This is my nightmare. If I dream about monsters or ghosts, I love them, but if I dream about standing in line, I get all tense. Luckily, this dream is not reoccurring.
I don't know what I think about dreams. Some say that you can tell the future. Some say that they will tell you how you really are in your subconscious. Some say that God talks to them and shows them things through dreams. I have a friend who is a missionary in a very Muslim country. She says that the way most of the people she works with convert is when they have a dream from God. She prays for the people there for God to speak to them through dreams. I know a guy who was heavily involved with the Church of Satan, and one night he had a dream that changed him from a Satan worshiper to a Christian. Dreams are powerful.
Anyways, this post is about nothing except that I've been thinking about the dream that I had last night. I don't know if I should try to get meaning out if, or maybe it was because I ate too later, or what.
What are the best and worst dreams that you can remember. Are they funny? Are they sad? Did you believe they were real when you woke up the next morning. Let me know, because I find this stuff fascinating.
Monday, March 24, 2008
2. Walkie Talkie
8. Francisco (thanks to Elf)
Words I don't like to say
6. Barb wire
1. Ireland--I think it would be fun to go to a pub and watch a soccer game. I hear they get pretty intense. I'll drink some water and sing songs with the drunk Irish people as we yell for whatever soccer team is playing. I'm sure they'll be invested in the outcome of the game way more than I will be.
2. Australia--A few years ago I had a guy come and stay with me from Perth. His mom had e-mailed me if I knew of any cheap places he could stay, and I said he could stay on my couch, and so he did. He was so cool and we hit it off quickly. I'd like to go and see Australia and visit him. And maybe we could catch a kangaroo.
3. Brazil--I just think South America would be cool to visit, and it'd be fun to see the Amazon. I like monkeys.
4. Italy--I want to see all the ancient Roman stuff. I want to eat good spaghetti.
5. England--I want to see if I can get those guards who can't move to move and recognize that I am there. I think I'll see if I can back as close to them with my butt without touching them...and see if that'll do it. If not, maybe I could fart real loud. I think even British people would think a fart is funny.
6. Amsterdam--Not to smoke pot or go to the Red light District, it just seems like a cool place to go. I also like windmills and wooden shoes.
7. Turkey--2 things. I have a friend, Mudd, who lives there and it would be fun to see him and his family that I have never met. Second, it's where a lot of early church history took place and it would be cool to see all of that.
8. Israel--Just to see where Jesus walked and talked would be cool.
9. Greece--I know some Greek, but Greece just seems like it would be beautiful.
10. Costa Rica--I have always heard that it was beautiful down there, and they have beautiful beaches.
11. Alaska--I want to do the Alaskan cruise. My parents did it last summer, and they said it was nice. I want to see a grizzly bear eat a fish.
12. Korea--It would be good to see Suzy's heritage a little bit. I will eat my weight in Kalbi.
13. San Francisco--I miss it there. I'm reading a book right now, Tweak, and it's set in San Francisco and a lot of the places it talks about I know, so it's making me miss it. I also have a lot of friends that I would like to visit and see. I have a hankering for a Vegetarian Quesadilla from Taqueria El Castillo on Church St. (If you look in the lower right hand corner, you will see a red neon light, right off of Market St. That's Safeway. My old church is about 2 blocks up Market, but there is a building blocking it from this view) It's beautiful isn't it.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
They see us as hypocritical. They see us as judgmental. They see us as antihomosexual. They see us as being sheltered. They see that what we have to say is worthless because they do not respect Christians.
Several Christian leaders gave little comments throughout the book on the different topics. Almost all fo them said that we ahve to stand by our beliefs, but the way that we communicated and connect with outsiders has got to change. It's God's responsibility to change hearts, it is our job to love people and serve people. To change the country's perceptions of Believers we need to start living in a way that is radically following the ways of God, by focusing on what God wants us to focus on and living like Jesus lived. We need to love people. We need to stand up for people who are being taken advantage of (sex slaves, people with HIV, the hungry, the illiterate). Only if we begin to do this, can we hope to change the perceptions of the unbelievers in our country.
The book had some great ideas. It was hard to read, because there aren't many illustrations. I think he repeated himself a lot. He could have made the chapters about half as long as they were and still got all the research and information in there. But, the information and the research was worth reading, and I would recommend this book to anybody who wants to change the perceptions of the world towards Christianity.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
This morning Suzy, Parker and I went to Brackenridge park. Parker has started really loving animals. When he gets upset, I take him outside and show him the birdies, and he calms and down and gets happy. So we went to the Park to feed the ducks. The river runs right through the middle of the park and usually there are a million ducks around there.
So we parked and walked down to the river and we saw several ducks down there, so we started to throw bread at them. A couple ate a piece and then spit it out, and then they swam away. The ducks here are picky and didn't want to eat the HEB generic bread. (A couple of weeks ago we tried to feed a swan some french fries, and the swan didn't want them either). The sea gulls in California would eat anything that was edible. So it was a little disappointing that the ducks didn't want any of our bread. I was hoping they would come close so Parker could see them better.
We walked along the river and saw several groups of ducks and geese, but none of them wanted our bread. Parker didn't seem to care, he still loved seeing the duckys.
Then we saw a group of ducks and one of them started freaking out. It looked as if he was caught up in a tree branch, and he was splashing around and just really going nuts. At one point he looked like he shook himself loose, but he just went upside down and kept on convulsing in the water. We were watching this happen, and we are on the other side of the river, but even the people on the duck's side weren't trying to help either. And there were about 10 ducks around that didn't try to help their friend. Eventually, the stuck duck stopped moving and went belly-up and died. It was sad for me and Suzy. Parker didn't know what was going on. He was watching the other ducks and a puppy that was near us. I'm not much of an animal lover, but seeing that happen seemed unreal and weird.
People are hurting all around. People are dying. People are starving. People are so sad and depressed and hopeless. And sometimes, I'm oblivious, just walking by and not even noticing that somebody is struggling right next to me. I pray that God opens my eyes to see the hurt, and I pray for the courage and strength to do something about it.
Friday, March 21, 2008
1. Chris Farley--I really went through the stages of grief when I heard that he was found dead.
2. Mother Teresea--She seems like such a great lady, and the world is a better place because she was here. I hope the same can be said about me at the end of my life.
3. Benjamin Franklin--He seems like a likable fellow.
4. Mark Twain--I think he's witty, and I'm sure he would be great to listen and talk to.
5. Babe Ruth
6. St. Francis of Assisi--The guy San Francisco was named after. This guy really did a lot of good, and had a fascinating theology. Plus, I think he ran around naked a lot (but when we eat together, he would be wearing clothes)
7. Martin Luther--Again, this guy had so much to do with the way we approach God today
8. Socrates--Things we take for granted as far as philosophy goes, he came up with it. I would need him to dumb down his conversation for me a few steps, I'm sure.
9. Al Capone--I really like 40's gangster stuff. I think it would be fun to listen to his stories about his mafia stuff and his days in Alcatraz.
10. Constantine--The Roman emperor who made it the Holy Roman Empire. This guy made Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire after seeing a symbol in a cloud.
11. Joey Ramone--It would be cool to talk with the inventor of American punk rock. Plus it would be fun to talk to a guy who looks so much like a bird.
12. Bruce Lee--I wonder if he could teach me to punch as hard as he can
13. Martin Luther King--Good man. Another person that made the world a better place.
Interestingly (to me anyways), I would mainly want to sit and listen to all of these people's stories. With the alive people I would rather dialogue a little bit. Maybe it's because with the alive people, I feel that we can impact each other to make a small difference in each other's life. Every conversation and contact we have has the potential to bring some change or knowledge to us. But with people who are already dead, there would be no need to change their lives. I won't have any impact on them, so it would be more fun for them to have an impact on me and just for me to sit and learn and listen to their stories.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
1. Fat Mike--singer of NoFX
2. Marilyn Manson--singer
3. Eric Byrnes--Outfielder for Arizona Diamondbacks. He's my favorite player and he seems like a super fun guy
4. Garth Brooks--Singer, Seems like a Good ol' boy
5. Barack Obama--politician, presidential candidate. I just like how he talks about hope. It doesn't mean I'm going to vote for him, but I would like to have a real conversation with him (as opposed to a political conversation).
6. Dave Grohl--drummer for Nirvana and singer of Foo Fighters
7. Francis Chan--preacher at Cornerstone in Simi Valley, CA
8. Bob Stoops--Coach of the OU Sooners
9. Charles Manson--Criminal, I'm just fascinated with this guy and how he thinks. Not in a way that I want to be like him, but that he's so off the wall, that I think he's interesting.
10. Jack Black--actor, comedian, singer, I think I would laugh and laugh and laugh. He's flippin' hilarious
11. Mia Hamm--Best woman's soccer player in the world (I was having a hard time thinking of a girl, but I figured one should be on here. I was thinking Brittany Spears, so I could talk some sense into her, but I feel I would end up hating that meal, and I would rather distance myself as far as I can from her...4 states away is still too close).
12. Greg Graffin--singer of Bad Religion--I've read a book by him about a conversation between him and a Christian professor. I think he's very intelligent, and I would love to talk to him about his beliefs and his music.
13. Robin Williams--actor
Who would you like to have dinner and conversation with? They must be living. I'll do throughout history another time.
Last night was a very cool night. We had a couple of youth groups visiting us, and one of them was our former jr. high worker's, Ryan Vernon, group from Midland, Texas. I spoke to jr. high and Jerry spoke to the high school.
I spoke about Jesus' story. I used John 3:16-17. What did his story say about him? First, Jesus' story said that God loves us. Second, Jesus is a savior. John 3:17 says that Jesus came to save the world and not to condemn it. Jesus wants us to live a life that is full of joy, not one of self-doubt and guilt. So many times, believers beat themselves up about sin and failures in their christian life. Jesus didn't come to condemn us. He wants us to live a life of joy. This doesn't mean that we are going to be as happy as bunnies every day, but we will be happy with where we are. Some of the most faithful people in history had hard lives. They lived without possessions, they were imprisoned, they were beaten...and yet they still had so much joy in their lives.
I ended by talking about the kids' own personal story. What do they want their story to say to the world? Is their life saying that now? What do they need to do to get their story to say what they want.
I want my story to say that I love God, and I love people. I want it to say that I helped to end modern day slavery. I want it to say that I love kids. I know I'm not there yet, but I hope I will be someday.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Here are the ones that I'm going to try
Ministry Related Books (Personal Growth):
I Sold My Soul on eBay
Jim and Casper go to Church
Be the Change
Finding Faith: A Search for What Makes Since
Looking for God: An Unexpected Journey through Tattoos, Tofu & Pronouns
This Beautiful Mess
Ministry Related Books (Youth Ministry)
My Life Unscripted: Who's Writing Your Life
Outflow: Youth Version
Kurt and Scott's Junior High Adventure
Postmodern Youth Ministry
The Missional Church
Biographies & Memoirs
Cash: The Autobiography
Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Meth Addiction
Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions
Steve Martin: Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slaves
Stranger at the Gate
Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines
The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in 3 Acts
Growing Up in Slavery: Stories of Young Slaves as told by Themselves
A Crime so Monstrous: Face-to Face with Modern Day Slavery
Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slaves
Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How we can stop it
Be the Change
Unspeakable The Hidden Truth Behind The World's Fastest Growing Crime
Sex Trafficking: The Global Market in Women and Children
Woman, Child - For Sale
Catcher in the Rye
Lord of the Flies
The Great Gatsby
Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines
Notes from the Teenage Underground
Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick's Rules
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Just for Fun
Through Painted Desert
To Own A Dragon: Reflections about growing up Without a Father
This Beautiful Mess: Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God
I also have the power to change books at any given time. The books in purple mean I've already read them. I will keep this page up to date as I finish the books. It's a goal to read all of these books, we'll see if I make it.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
You're The Catcher in the Rye!
by J.D. Salinger
You are surrounded by phonies, and boy are you sick of them! In an
ongoing struggle to search for a land without phonies, you end up running away from
everything, from school to consequences. In this process, you reveal that many people
in your life have suffered torments and all you really want to do is catch them as
they fall. Perhaps using a baseball mitt. Your biggest fans are infamous
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
This is very interesting because I do get disgusted by people who are phonies. Unauthentic people make me uncomfortable and I don't like to be around them. Also, while I was still single, the only girls who ever liked me were a little psychotic. I have never read this book, but I was actually thinking about starting to read it a few days ago. Awesome!!
I just finished this book by Rob Bell (the guy who does the Nooma videos), and I loved it. It is called Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith, and it is a look at some of the traditions and things that we believe from another angle. It's to get us to think about what it really means to be someone who is called a Christian and what it really means to be a follower of Jesus.
A few things that I really liked about the book were how he put the historical and cultural context around the scriptures he was using. When quoting Jesus, he told us what the people who were standing there listening would have actually been associating with the words. Some of those things I already knew, but a lot of them I didn't.
Another idea in the book that I hadn't really thought about before, but I loved, was the idea of heaven on Earth. Heaven isn't just a place that we are going to be when we die. We have to live and suffer in this world, but we will be rewarded with heaven, but Rob talked about having a heaven on earth. So many times people live in poverty, abuse, and sickness, which is hell on earth. Hell is described as the absence of God, so all of those things are not of God. But giving, forgiving, mercy, love; these are all things of God, and if we start loving people and showing mercy and help to people, this is bringing heaven to earth. I'm still thinking about this, but I like the idea of bringing heaven to earth by acting in ways that God wants us to live.
Just a couple of days ago, I was driving downtown, and I was already a little frustrated because of how busy it was down there. It was a mistake to try to go downtown during the beginning of Spring Break. So, I'm driving and I'm stopped at a light, and I'm the third car in the light. The light turns green, and the car behind me starts honking. It makes me mad, because honking isn't going to do anything at this point, especially honking at me since I am the third car in the line. So, what do I do? I slow way down. It was at one of the lights that has the timer so you know how long you have to make it. I slowed down until the light almost hit zero, then I sped through the light. It changed to red and the honker had to wait at the light. I was so happy. But, I was happy because I knew I had made that driver, who was also very frustrated, even more upset. I was bringing hell on earth to this guy. That's not how I need to be. I can understand the driver's frustration, because I was equally frustrated, but I need to show compassion and mercy to people, even when they are being idiots and honking at me.
There are so many good things in this book and great ideas about God. Rob Bell was very transparent and open about his life and his struggles and his feelings. I loved that. This will be a book I will read again some time.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Last Saturday, we took a bunch of kids to help out with Agora Ministries to help them with an Easter Egg Hunt for the community that they minister to. A ton of families came and we helped to hide over 10,000 eggs. We also had kids who dressed up as different mascots and went around handing out candy and hi-fives. It was a lot of fun for everybody.
After the kids ran around and picked up the eggs, they had a short time to talk about the meaning of Easter and how Jesus came to save us. Many kids gave their lives to Jesus. Then to end everything they gave away a lot of gifts, such as big Easter Baskets, gift cards, and even a couple of bicycles.
It was fun to help minister to kids on the Southside and be a part of a ministry that helps people in need. Our kids got to love on kids and show love to them. I'm adding some pictures from the day down here too.